SXSW Flatstock 2016

SXSW is a music, film and tech festival held annually in Austin, Texas. The 10 day conference is filled with concerts, panels, workshops and parties. One of the highlights every year is Flatstock, an enormous exhibition of poster art by some of the worlds most talented artists and designers. It's an awesome platform that showcases the diversity of this art form while giving fans and collectors the rare opportunity to meet artists.

This year's Flatstock saw over 50 artists, collectives and print studios featuring their work. We spent two days walking the show and having a blast experiencing the wide the range of styles, motifs and imagery presented by each exhibitor. Everything was available for sale at reasonable prices, not only the posters but screen prints and originals too!

Screen prints are distinct from typical posters because they have painterly qualities and involve the artist's hands in every step of their production. They are beautiful and fun to make, but can be considered laborious and require time to perfect the techniques involved. Quite a few artists choose to do the the screen printing themselves, but there are also some who just design the artwork then work with a printing studio to handle the rest. Here's a cool infographic outlining the lengthy yet satisfying process of producing a single screen print in one color (the entire process is repeated for every color used in the print):

Image courtesy of Squeegee and Ink

Just to name a few, here are some artists that really caught our eye at this year's Flatstock:

Cogdut (aka Kyle Carter)

These duo-chrome prints with elaborate patterns can almost pull you into a trance. Cogdut revealed that his interest in mathematics has heavily influenced his art style and the production of these meticulous shapes. The intersection of math and art provided fertile ground for exploration. The Golden Ratio, fractals, symmetry and recursion are just a few of the conceptual tools mirrored in both disciplines. Kyle admitted that some of his geometrical patterns were so complex and difficult to formulate that it took him days to design and weeks to print.

Here an example of Cogdut's work, presented in our recommended frame choice:

Cogdut's 'Whorled Center' framed with 2" off-white matting and 0.75" white maple profile

Pairing a white frame with off-white matting allows viewers to really focus on the colors, intricate shapes and lines that Cogdut orchestrates so well. White on white is also very modern and sleek.

Sean Mort

Sean Mort is an artist from the UK. What started off as vector doodles that Sean uploaded to his Instagram feed, soon became actual Pick 'N' Mix screen prints that have attracted a following of collectors. Vector art is images created using polygons and shapes through computer graphics. His 5" x 5" designs are objects and places from his own life; the things he does and the things that inspire him on a regular basis. The bright and refreshing shade of yellow ties all of his pieces together and really makes them pop. From a framer's perspective, these mini screen prints would look great in a series of diptych and triptych frames! Check it out for yourself:

Sean Mort's 'Pick 'N' Mix' series framed in a triptych. 0.75" Natural Maple Profile and 1.5" off-white matting.

Our natural maple profile matches well without detracting from the alluring yellow in the artwork. These triptychs would look great stacked on the same wall or scattered around a home to tie multiple rooms together.

James Flames

James Flames is one of the most prolific and popular poster artists of our time. He leverages complementary colors to create visually stunning and dynamic compositions. James' hand-made screen prints feature 5 or more different colors, meaning that he goes through the same process 5 times or more on every print (imagine how much time goes into screen printing 100 editions of every design). The subject matter in his designs often features people and places that are familiar, but what makes his work so captivating is an ethereal twist of reality to create images that could be described as dream-like.

Images courtesy of James Flames.

Here is James Flames' "The Cost of Clarity" framed, 0.75" Black Maple profile with 2" off-white matting:


You can never go wrong with a classic and elegant black frame with white matting. Black and white will always match perfectly with any of the beautiful color combinations James' designs throw at you.


Flatstock 2016 was a ton of fun -- It was a great experience to see all the amazing diversity of affordable poster art by brilliant artists from around the world. We can't wait to see what's in store at next year's event!


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